Some books are just fun to read. The Beantown Girls is one of those books.
Written by Jane Healey The Beantown Girls takes on WWII through the eyes of the Red Cross Clubmobile Girls. In all of my years of reading and studying WWII history, I’ve never come across anything about the Clubmobile Girls, which is an incredibly fascinating piece of American and WWII History. The Red Cross essentially recruited attractive, outgoing, college-educated American women between the ages of 25-35. They sent these young women to England and France during WWII to boost troop morale by serving coffee and donuts while engaging troops in lighthearted conversation. The girls were trained to drive and maintain trucks fitted with little kitchens and often followed the troops right into the thick of things.
Healey did a fantastic job presenting the history and strength of the Clubmobile Girls while also dipping into the horrors of war that these young women actually faced. In many ways, the Clubmobile Girls carried the same unspoken mantle that mothers, sisters and wives carry everywhere; to support our men and be strong so the men won’t fall apart. I appreciated the way Healey wrote her female characters in a way that was both strong and vulnerable, as well as true to the times. The girls constantly applying fresh lipstick in the midst of a war was almost comical, but also an obvious nod to how seriously they took their roles as Clubmobile Girls.
I also liked how Healey strung together several true Clubmobile Girl accounts into a single believable tale, unlike Beneath a Scarlet Sky, which placed the main character in so many events it was unbelievable.
The love story in The Beantown Girls felt like a neatly placed after thought and I think the book could have continued along smoothly without a predictable love thread being tossed in. The book does end rather neatly, but after all the girls go through, I was rooting for them to get everything they wanted.
Great topic. Engaging writing. Well developed characters. The Beantown Girls gets four stars from me and a strong recommendation for lighter WWII historical fiction.
Until next time, happy reading!